EU plans Russian energy exit

Peace, whilst every right-minded person’s dream, brings complacency. This is a theme that history has seen repeated over and over.

With the fall of the Berlin Wall the EU was tempted (or entrapped) into using Russian gas to fuel its economies and even reduce is emissions, but things change. With 40 per cent of the EU’s gas needs being met by Russia it faces the ironic, and horrific, situation of funding Russia’s military operations to the tune of over a hundred of millions euros a day whilst condemning the invasion of the Ukraine.

After having been caught somewhat like a rabbit in the headlights, the EU is now beginning to draw up plans to shed itself of this dependency.

The REPowerEU plan published yesterday (8 March) aims to make the EU independent of Russian energy by 2030, with an initial emphasis on the supply of gas. This may mean that Nord Stream 2 never actually becomes operation.

The plan is a mixture of greater efficiency, a fast track to sustainable energy sources, alternative sources (such as a return to coal) and new or alternative supplies. It will also propose a level of minimum gas storage for each member state. This result could be an immediate increase in carbon emission to trade off against longer-term significant reductions.

For existing suppliers, the prospect of price caps and windfall taxes looms, as the EU seeks top protect consumers, particularly in poorer areas of the Union.

There is an old saying that if you wish to get somewhere, you have started in the wrong place, but it is the place the EU is in, and it surely must now find a path out of it.

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